Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's not so Simple

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I have a slight obsession with shoes.

Not my shoes. I mean, I *may* have just worn a pair of worn out Franco Sarto boots I bought on this "new" site called Zappos circa 2002.

I'm obsessed with my boys' shoes. Mommies of girls get to bathe in ruffle bottoms, cable knit tights, cute bows, mary janes, and smocking. Not to say I'm a real "girly-girl," but a hard part of having boys (right after potty training, learning to preemptively quell diaper squirts in the eye, and handing off awkward conversations about teenage body parts and nighttime experiences to Dad), is that the clothes situation bites.

First, for both boys and girls I find the gender stereotyping of clothing egregious. My opinion. Take it or leave it. And I've been given flak on Facebook about it when I commented about how awful JC Penny's selections for children's clothing were. And it's not just JC Penny--it's everywhere from Target to Carter's. I don't have a problem with making a distinction between feminine and masculine, but I do have a problem with drenching babies in really harmful gender stereotypes.

And something about our children being walking advertisements...

Okay, I'm stepping away from the soapbox now...this rant could get dangerous, and I just had a flashback to women's studies. I could easily go all postmodern/post-structural feminist on you.

Listen, I have our fair bit of shirts with trucks, cars, and robots on them, but if you know me, I'd prefer a nice striped waffle shirt or cotton button down. I think I drive my mother-in-law crazy with my very specific preferences for the boy's clothing. (Funny example of how it's quite obvious my preference for boys' clothing: another mom at school told me that her son said "I look like Miles" when they put him in a button down for Christmas.)

Time out. Slight explanation. First, I buy 99.9% of my children's clothing at consignment. And yes, I do tend to buy very adult looking clothing. But in reference to the button downs, I've got 2 kids with noggins that are in the 75-90th percentile. Button downs are far easier. And at $2 a pop--DONE!

Okay, it is true that my son can read a few words, one of which is "GAP", as it adorns many of his clothes. And along with his developing drawings of "head-footers," it's something I get slight pride in--word recognition. In truth, I'd prefer the clothes just not say anything, but it happens that GAP tends to have the most plain Jane (John?), classic clothing. They just have to stick on that darn bear and the word "GAP" as marketing.

I'm not perfect. And as you will soon see, I'm probably a writing contradiction.

Wait--where were we? Something about shoes?

Ah yes. I'm obsessed with my boys' shoes. I find that attractive, functional boys' shoes are also hard to find, so when a few years back I found out that Simpe Shoes made baby and toddler versions, I went nuts. Eco-certified, WASHABLE, cute, durable...I was in heaven. At first I was appalled at the close to $40 price tag, and then I looked at Stride Rite, See Kai Run, Pedoodles, etc, and noticed this alarming trend: children's shoes cost a fortune. Luckily, over the years, I've strategically found places that have sales on Simple shoes. Currently, we are rotating quite a few (seen below), and I have 3 other pairs that both boys have grown out of. The 2 green-ish pairs are way too big for the boys (Miles is barely in a size 7 and Felix barely in a 6), but I got some devastating news recently: SIMPLE SHOES ARE CEASING DISTRIBUTION AND GOING ON A CREATIVE REENERGIZING VACATION. What that means to me is that I cannot fuel my obsession.

Maybe this is a healthy way of detoxing?

So I panicked, scoured the net for deals on toddler shoes, and bought the 2 green pairs (size 8 and 10) at the REI outlet along with some for my niece. And I might be ordering some more from Eric and I both have a pair and are in love, and again, I might have to order some more. Like, I'm totally in love with these boots, which aren't a great replacement for my worn Franco's, but I can convince myself easily after a glass of TJ's 2 buck chuck tonight.
 It's like the scarcity principle in full effect--I'm terrified of them disappearing, and then my children will have to wear ugly orthotic shoes...and we know that sometime soon they'll both be in glasses, probably braces or at least head gear, Felix still has that damn tort collar (version 2.0, toddler style), and let's not count out the possibility of early onset puberty and acne due to some hormone they've probably been ingesting (or maybe something related to the copious amounts of lady bugs Felix has probably eaten this month). You see where this is going. First Simple shoes disappear, and next my children need to be home schooled and "therapized" for life.

Oh, along with OCD and anxiety, I have a penchant for catastrophizing.
Hold on! Appendix A!!! For Felix's birthday, he was gifted from one of my besties a pair of TOMS shoes. I couldn't believe it!
First, I love the company, the philosophy...and I've been drooling over a pair of wedges and flats for myself.  My totally rad and cool Uncle Bob and Aunt Denise have a few pairs, and I found out my cousin (their daughter) has 9 pairs! (insert envy). My dream clothing stylist (who happens to be my friend LVW at work) has an amazing pair of wedges and black sparkly flats, and I my work day gets infinitely better when I see her wearing them.

Here's the skinny: for every pair purchased, they give a pair to a child in need. I recommend checking out the site.

(See the rainbow above? That is God singing the praises for a new pair of cute boy shoes for our house.)

Size wise, I was thinking they would be perfect for Felix to wear in the spring. Low and behold, even though they are a little big, Felix is IN LOVE with them and asks to wear his "TOMS" shoes every day. I mean, he is over Simple like they are ceasing distribution or something. Wait...they are. (wah-wah).

This morning he threw his Simples at me (yup, he's 2. More on that in another post), and crawled to the shoe caddy area and snatched the TOMS and attempted to put them on in quite an aggressive manner. Boy knows what he wants!

It's hard because Felix is a little rough and tumble, so the canvas is wearing on the toe area (part of why I loved Simples--that darn toe rubber!), but he has used and abused them so much that I think I've found a good alternative to Simples for the time being.

I know in a world where we are trying to keep up with Newt's # of affairs and exposing how horrible Mitt the moderate Masshole is (this is no commentary on my political leanings, though if you haven't "left" here for too long, they are pretty obvious...just like that clue in the last sentence...this is just a reflection on how tired the whole circus of primaries are. I'd say the same thing if it were all Democrats.), it seems silly for me to dedicate a post to shoes, but I really mourned the loss of Simple.

No, really. I think for 2 nights straight I mentioned to Eric how sad I was.

I get attached easily. And I have slight obsessive tendencies (rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat). And maybe it's because I never had a dog growing up, or because I wasn't crowned prom queen.

Whatever the reason, I'll be hunting the last of the Simple shoes until the supply runs dry. Any leads are appreciated. (I will say for adult shoes,   has amazing prices. Far better than Zappos)

Luckily, we have entered the world of TOMS thanks to AS, and counseling is not in order.

At least for this sitch-ee-a-shun.


  1. Your brother has been having the same problem with his beloved "Puma California" style shoe. He inherited the shoe obsession too and scours the interwebs trying to find what he decribes as his "perfect" shoe style that Puma no longer makes. It's tragic. He has about 3 brand new pairs he ordered from random sites still in the box, just in case....

  2. Hmmm. I wonder if it's something we did to you kids?! For me, it's Stegmans, which apparently are not in supply anymore either.
    I think that Tom's should hire you as an advertising photographer for their shoes. Those are great photos.
    I would like to try some Tom's.
    I love those boots.


    Your skirt is going out in tomorrow's mail.

    I wanted to go on record to state that the mustard colored TOMs wedges would look KILLER with it.

    If you order these tonight, you might get the wedges and the skirt on the same day! HOLLA! :)